Buckley tells players they can find even more joy

Liam Buckley has told his Sligo Rovers players that they will enjoy the final stages of the season if they continue on the track they have laid down since the restart.

The Rovers boss credited the side with their “drive and commitment” to get the club away from the relegation zone, as well as reaching the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup last night thanks to a 3-1 success over UCD.

It was a fifth win in six games for the Bit O’ Red – the best run of form for the club in seven years – and goals have been flowing along with it.

Buckley told RTÉ Sport: “I’m pleased with the effort the lads are putting in. There is a drive and a commitment to get us out of trouble.

“We were bottom of the table for four months, albeit there was only four games played at that stage.

“That said, if we have that commitment right to the end of the season, it is much more enjoyable, it’s much more enjoyable to watch, to play in, so we just have to make sure that everyone is up for it.”

The Cup remains a competition close to the hearts of all associated with Rovers – something not lost on Buckley who said he wants the group to give it their all in the competition for themselves and the fans watching at home.

“A cup final is probably the best day of the season. As I said to the boys, it’s important for them as group to do as best they possibly can, and it’s more important for the fans. I have no doubt they’ve all been watching tonight.

“I thought in the second half we controlled it a lot better. We had quite a few chances and bagged our three goals.

“You’re always concerned when you concede and especially in a Cup game because you only have one chance in the Cup.

“We regrouped at half-time and there was more drive and commitment in relation to getting forward. I think we deserved our win”

“We have to make sure the quarter-finals, and hopefully a semi-final and final, that we put in 100% effort like we did tonight. It took serious concentration to break down this UCD team.”

Ronan Coughlan’s persistence led to another goal for the striker. Up to his powerful header from a Jesse Devers cross – who was key for the Bit O’ Red in the second half, it had been a frustrating evening.

Buckley said it was a sign of Coughlan’s class that he found the goal to put Rovers in front.

“Ronan’s goal was great, the passing up to it was very good. I’m delighted for him. As a centre-forward, having been there myself, you’re not going to score every chance you get.

“As long as keeps getting chances, he’ll keep scoring goals. He has done really well for us.”

One disappointment on the night was hamstring injuries to Kyle Callan-McFadden and Sigitas Olberkis.

The Rovers boss stated: “Kyle and Sigitas both have tight hamstrings. I’m not sure why that is happening. We just have to assess that in relation to going forward.

“That said we do have John Mahon back now, he is back in training for three or four weeks and Garry Buckley is back fit as well, there’ll be another week’s training for him.

“Will Seymore is back as well. It’s just unfortunate for the two lads, they are two quality players.”